Switch: How Can Getting Injured Be Good For You?

How can this be good?

How can this be good?

If you asked me this question a couple of years ago, I would look at you sideways and maybe even attempt to give you the backhand smack.

There is no situation where being injured can be good for you!

Right? Or is there?

Before I move on, I encourage you to read Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard (Chip and Dan Heath) which is a book that got me thinking and looking at things differently. I t allowed me to look at some negative situations from a positive outlook, being able to see what good can come out of it. Powerful stuff!

First off, I suck at being injured! I can be sour a lot of the time and not that nice to be around. I’m a hyper person, so taking away my ability to do what I want when I want to (a.k.a. restrictions) made me anxious and irritable.

I used to be that way anyway. This time around it has been different.

I started looking at the injury as a way of being able to learn and figure out what is wrong with me, how to address it, assess the same issues in my clients and fix them (or refer out when necessary), creating the 2.0 version of anyone that had to deal with it. It almost became an obsession and another journey seeking knowledge about the human body. It has also made me more aware of my body than ever before, I know when things are right or wrong with my posture, muscles aren’t activated, etc.

What was it that started this whole thought process?

It started as a adductor issue and started turning into symptoms of sports hernia, at least that’s what I thought after reading everything possible on it (an I think my brother just having surgery for the hernia didn’t help). I kept training through it though and going to A.R.T. (Active Release Therapy) which kept it from getting worse as well as making it feel better short term. And most importantly I could still train. On a separate note, Active Release Therapy is a very powerful tool when it comes to injuries and can be an incredible help with injuries (in all reality any manual therapy where there practitioner is great will work…..there are many methods that work, who is applying it is the most important).

A clip from a news segment showing ART (Active Release Techniques)

It then got to a point where the inflammation in my groin was just too much and I had to seek help and get the answers I was looking for. I went to the doctor only to diagnose it was probably not a sports hernia – yet (when it comes to these things I only see doctors in my referral network as I don’t trust anyone else). From there on I started doing physical therapy with one of the top PT’s in Washington StateĀ Ken Cole (Olympic Physical Therapy), This was one of the best moves I could have made, not only from the standpoint of getting myself better but also from a learning standpoint.

We realized I had many compensations from previous nagging injuries (some bigger, some smaller) which created faulty movement patterns and shut certain muscles down, creating a greater load on some other muscles. When it comes to spotting things like this on myself, I’m not very good, mostly because I don’t want to see them and I can train through anything. This was my mentality which has proven to be incorrect.

Being a “patient” has proven to be more educational than I have ever thought as I have studied every single thing I learned about my situation and my issues and it has become a journey taking me deeper into the studies of the human body and techniques to finding causes of issues as well strategies and applications to fixing them . I’m getting better at knowing when to apply certain tests as well as possible solutions, not to mention refer out and then work together with the right professional to get the client feeling better and to their goals as soon as possible.

It has also expanded my knowledge in other fields that I previously did’t know much about and now see how helpful they can be. The excitement of being able to study these new strategies has almost made me forget that I had issues. Almost.

And finally, I have been able to use some of the things I have learned in a performance application rather than just as a rehab protocol. It is great when you can take a technique and apply it into areas you never primarily thought you could. I have started using some activation and neurological training techniques and plugging them into our protocols such as warm ups and even in between sets of speed lifts and heavy lifts.

This is a little more advanced drill and I would use a regression depending on the client/athlete but a great tool none the less

Even though I’m not a 100% yet, my training has taken a real jump in the positive direction and I have hit some personal records or just have hit numbers that I haven’t hit in years all with the help of this new knowledge. Knowledge and learning that I acquired after something negative happened to me. So next time you have a negative thing happen in your life, switch your perspective and look at what positive things you can get out of it. It’s not easy but it will work wonders for you because then you can start doing it more and more.

Just to make myself feel a little better, I’m going to post some lifts (one of them matched a PR) I got in while visiting the Vigor Ground gym in Slovenia. Not surprisingly, I applied all of the new techniques before and during the training session.

I hit a pretty easy 450 lbs that day :)

I haven’t hit that in years!

You can apply this type of thinking in ANY situation. So switch your thought process any time a negative thing happens and start looking at the situation from a different perspective. It may not be as bad you think!

What situation can you apply this to in your life right now?

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4 Responses to “Switch: How Can Getting Injured Be Good For You?”

  1. Rannoch says:

    Fantastic article and completely on the money. There is nothing like a little adversity to fuel big change.

    Five years ago I broke my leg. It happened at a point where I thought I was fit and healthy and would bounce back. When I got the cast off I found I was weak, demotivated and nowhere near as fit as I had thought.

    The initial rehab I recieved was worse than useless and so began my own journey back to health and fitness.

    Five years on I am working with incredible coaches and trainers, hosting premier events in Scotland and getting to make a little difference here and there.

    So yup, a decent injury can be all it takes to get you back on track!

  2. Luke Wold says:

    Great Post, Luka!

    If it weren’t for getting injured as a wrestler in college, I’d probably be a computer programmer somewhere! Spending time in physical therapy was one of the BEST things that has ever happened to me.

    Lots of people come in to see me after an injury/metabolic illness and go on to completely change their life, not just their health and body. Whether it is a busted up shoulder or handfuls of blood pressure medication, injuries are the “wake up call” that we sometimes need for the kick in the ass to finally take action.

    Keep on killing it, bro!

    ~ Luke

  3. Joe says:

    Awesome post! I read Switch a couple of months ago and it’s probably one of the best books I’ve read this year. Have you read “Made to Stick”?

    I’ve been insanely busy recently, and for a while it meant that things weren’t getting done or not getting done properly. The switch thought is that being this busy focuses you on what’s important. All the useless activities get dropped. Concentrating on the important aspects of work, training and life then means your results improve!

    Good lifting, keep up the good work!

  4. Neal Gerfen says:

    Your lifts are extremely impressive gotta love the sumo deadlift and you can definately bench a bit more than me but I was wondering why you lift your body off of the bench during the bench press? This allows momentum to enter into the equation especially when you elevate your hips up quickly from the bench as well as shortening your ROM. Try it in completly strict form with bar to chest and your hips not leaving the bench and then observe the difference in max bench lbs.

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